Cats In The Cradle lyrics
My child arrived just the other day
Came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
He was talkin fore I knew it
And as he grew he said,
I'm gonna be like you, dad,
You know I'm gonna be like you.
And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man n the moon.
When you comin home?
Son, I don't know when. well get together then.
You know well have a good time then.
Well, my son turned ten just the other day.
He said, thanks for the ball, dad. come on, lets play.
Could you teach me to throw?
I said, not today. I got a lot to do.
He said, that's okay. and he walked away and he smiled and he said,
You know, I'm gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I'm gonna be like him.
"Cat's in the Cradle" is a 1974 folk rock song by Harry Chapin from the album Verities & Balderdash. The single topped the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1974 and was Chapin's only #1 hit song. The lyrics to the verses of the song were originally written as a poem by Chapin's wife, Sandy Chapin, who is credited as the song's co-writer. The poem itself was inspired by the awkward relationship between Sandy Chapin's first husband, James Cashmore, and his father, a New York City politician.
The song is told in first-person by a father who is too busy to spend time with his son. Though the son repeatedly asks him to join in childhood activities, the father always responds with little more than vague promises of spending time together in the future, which is peppered with images from nursery rhymes. While the son longs to spend time with his father, he continues to admire his father as a role model and tells him that he will be just like him when he is an adult. The third verse shows the son now having his own life in college and the father now wants to spend time with him. However, like his father, it is the son who now ironically does not have time for his father, pursuing his own life.
Years pass and the lonely, aging father, who is now retired and free from the constraints of work, desires yet again to spend time with his son, who by this time is a family man himself. Hoping to make up for lost time, the father reaches out to him again. The son however has his own life and family to worry about; he warmly responds that he is now too busy with his own work and family to spend time with (or even see) his father. Like his father once had, the son promises that someday in the future they will spend time together. The last verses end with the lines "I'd love to dad if I could find the time/You see my new job's a hassle and the kids have the flu/But it's sure nice talking to you, dad … And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me/He'd grown up just like me/My boy was just like me …". The father realizes that his son is now giving him vague promises exactly like he once did to his son. The final line also says that the son's prediction about growing up to be like his father came true, although not in a way the father would have liked, but rather that the son is now making the same promises for future quality time as his own father once did to him.
To reflect the promises that the two men make to each other, the first two times the chorus is sung, it uses the concluding lines "When you coming home dad?/I don't know when/But we'll get together then/We're gonna have a good time then...", and the last two times, it replaces the word "dad" with "son" and also contains the slightly-altered line "But we'll get together then dad".
The Ugly Kid Joe cover of the song peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #7 on the UK singles chart